Above the Law

Recent Headlines from Above the Law

 

Would you wear these to court?

* Hmm, somebody didn’t review those documents quickly enough: the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy trial has been delayed for about a month’s time by Judge Steven Rhodes because the parties needed additional time to get their acts together. [Bloomberg]

* The NCAA may have lost the battle in the Keller EA Sports video games case with its $20 million settlement offer, but it’s clearly out for blood to win the war in the O’Bannon case with its tough cross-examination tactics for the lead plaintiff. [USA Today]

* GW Law, a school that recently increased its class size by 22 percent and allowed its average LSAT score to slip by two points, yoinked its new dean right out from under Wake Forest’s nose. [GW Hatchet]

* The legal profession isn’t exactly diverse, and law schools want to change that — the more pictures of “diverse” students they can display on their websites, the better. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* Who really cares what prospective jurors wear when they show up for jury duty? The lawyers arguing that being turned away for wearing sneakers affected their clients’ rights in a case, that’s who. [WSJ Law Blog]

Since we released the ATL Top 50 Law Schools last week, we’ve received a fair amount of feedback and criticism regarding our approach to ranking schools. As noted (again and again), our methodology considers “outcomes” only — the idea being that, in this dismal legal job market, that’s all that truly matters. Our rankings formula weighs six outcomes; these three below were the most disputed:

Supreme Court Clerks. This is simply the number of SCOTUS clerks produced by the school over the last five years, adjusted for the schools’ size. By far, this is the most heavily criticized aspect of our methodology. “Preposterous!” “Irrelevant!” “Reflective of some weird fetish on the part of one of your editors!” And so on. To which we say, sure, SCOTUS clerkships are irrelevant in assessing the vast majority of schools. Properly considered, this component is a sort of “extra credit question” that helps make fine distinctions among a few top schools.

Federal Judgeships. The number of sitting Article III judges who are alumni of the school, adjusted for size. Some complain that this is a lagging indicator that tells us something about graduates from 25 years ago but little about today’s students’ prospects. Besides, aren’t these appointments just a function of the appointees’ connections? True enough, but this is certainly an indicator of the enduring strength and scope of a school’s graduate network — surely a worthwhile consideration. Connections matter.

Quality Jobs Score. The percentage of students securing jobs at the nation’s largest law firms combined with those landing federal clerkships. The principal criticism with this metric is that it fails to include some categories of desirable job outcomes, including so-called “JD Advantage” jobs and certain public interest/government positions. However, parsing out the “good” jobs from the rest is the problem. Whenever we could, we used the most straightforward, obtainable, and well-defined data points, with the goal of a “quality jobs score” as a reasonable proxy for quality jobs generally.

Read on for a look at which schools rated best in each of the above categories, as well as on Employment Score and Lowest Cost. We’ll also look at some of the biggest gainers and losers in the ATL 50, plus significant differences between our rankings and U.S. News….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Again With The Law School Rankings: Winners, Losers, Critics, And U.S. News”

Ed. note: This is the latest post in our series of ATL infographics — visual representations of our own proprietary data, relevant third-party data, “anecdata,” or just plain jokes.

We know that law school applications are down, but how are the rest of the numbers looking for the class of 2016? Which schools experienced the most dramatic shrinkage in class size? How have LSAT scores and GPAs changed for the T14 vs. the T100? Which schools defied the downward spiral and actually experienced an increase in class size?

Check out our infographic, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Law School Class Of 2016: By The Numbers”

So what got that Wake Forest law student mad enough that he started calling for Wake’s accreditation?

To briefly recap, a Wake law student, Daniel Skinner, filed a defamation suit against Wake and several Wake officials over a letter he received suggesting that he’s quick to accuse folks of fraud and deceit.

Underlying this dispute is Skinner’s claim that Wake failed to meet basic accreditation standards and therefore defrauded the ABA and the federal government.

The details of this claim weren’t clear from the complaint and Skinner’s personal blog. But thankfully some folks have stepped up and provided us with more material Skinner has sent around explaining his beef with Wake Forest. So in the interest of full disclosure, let’s take a look at Skinner’s side of this story…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Wake Forest Lawsuit Follow-Up”

Law schools have been sued before. Often, we here at ATL, applaud those efforts. It’s a David and Goliath undertaking to bring a school literally filled with lawyers to court.

But this lawsuit has a little less “heroic struggle” to it. Suing because a dean accused you of being too quick to accuse others of acting in bad faith? Maybe he hasn’t taken torts yet, because truth is a defense…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student Sues Law School For Implying He’s Litigious”

This is the fourth in a series of posts looking at how law schools in specific markets stack up based on the results of our ATL Insider Survey. As we’ve often noted, very few law schools are truly national institutions. Typically, the majority of graduates don’t stray too far from their alma maters, so the strongest network will be local, for local jobs. It’s to your advantage to go to school where you want to practice, sometimes even more so than going to a higher-ranked school.

In recent weeks, we’ve looked at our survey results pertaining to Chicago, Boston, and New York-area law schools. We examined how current law students rate their schools in terms of academics, career counseling, financial aid advising, practical/clinical training, and social life.

Today, we turn to our broadest geographic region yet: the South (the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana). Read on to see how schools in the region compare….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Comparing the Law Schools of the South”

Welcome back to our series of open threads on the latest batch of U.S. News law school rankings. Last time, readers weighed in on the schools that filled out the middle of the traditional first tier (ahh, the good old days when there were more than two). There were some rather significant moves worth noting in that group, like Alabama and Washington. Also worth noting are the schools that disappeared from that list, and now we’ll get to talk about them.

This time around, we’ll be taking a look at the law schools at the bottom of the top 50, the schools that some would argue belong in the traditional “second tier” (no, not the dreaded “rank not published” or “RNP” tier).

These schools might not be at the top, but some of them charge like they’re the cream of the crop….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Open Thread: 2014 U.S. News Law School Rankings (33 – 48)”

As we all know, law schools are eager to sell you naming rights if you give them money. Bad schools are willing to sell out, good schools are willing to sell out. Harvard Law School sold the naming rights to their freaking bathrooms.

Usually, these sales are made by deans at country clubs or wherever, with handshakes and checkbooks.

But one law school has put out a chart so that interested alumni can buy naming rights to things like they’re shopping at Wal-Mart.

Why not? It’s better than raising tuition. How much do you think it should cost to name a law school dining room?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “How Much Does It Cost To Name ALL THE THINGS At A Law School?”

Good job… at ruining America.

I generally try to defend Millennials in these pages. They might seem like texting-obsessed kids, but we need to cut them some slack. Because they had the American economy pulled out from under them just as they tried to start their adult lives. You just wait, when these guys are 40, they’ll be telling their kids stories of the “Great Recession” and how patience and frugality are chief virtues. They might be telling their kids those stories in Chinese, but still.

But we do have our occasional disagreements. I think the special snowflake syndrome plagues this generation; they’re so obsessed with their own social-media fueled individuality that they tend to think things like statistics don’t apply to them. Part of that is being young; part of that is being dumb.

And part of that is that Millennials, as a group, seem to need compliments in order to function like normal humans. They want you to LIKE THEIR STATUS and retweet their banter with an inane “lol.” If you don’t give them gushing praise, they take it as a criticism. And if you actually criticize them, well damn, you might as well be questioning their entire existence and telling them to kill themselves.

Yesterday, I saw something that takes “gushing praise” to a new, disgusting, saccharine level. And it’s coming from law schools….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Millennials: This Is Why You Fail”

Attorney retirement home?

Well, the election is over, and a gaggle of new Congressfolks and Senators are coming to Washington in January. Of this population, 43 percent are lawyers, reversing the decline in lawyer politicians. So let’s review the incoming class and you can not-so-quietly judge our new legislators for their education and experience in the comments.

Ten new members attended Harvard Law School, so congratulations Crimson for continuing your tradition as the shadowy institution ruling our lives. There are also some inspiring stories among the new members. Like Joseph P. Kennedy, who lifted himself up by the bootstraps and managed to get into Harvard without any connections whatsoever. Everyone’s education info and any interesting career tidbits are provided below.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of the Lawyer-Politician”

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